2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

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2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Review: Tiny Hands, Big Hitter

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Review

When one thinks of Mercedes-AMG, cars like the mighty GT Coupe and G63 SUV come to mind; but at the bottom of the ladder sits the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35, a capable and exciting compact four-door sedan that lives up to the AMG name, even if it doesn't make a million horsepower. Under the hood, this junior exec packs 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and sends its power to all four wheels. We were left thoroughly impressed by how far the baby AMG CLA has come compared to its previous iteration, and though it might not be as quick as the Audi S3 or as practical as the BMW M235i Gran Coupe, it is still a stylish and fun-to-drive option. With a 0-60 time of under five seconds, ravishing looks, and the most striking cabin in the segment, the CLA 35 isn't a bad way to begin your Mercedes-AMG journey.

Read in this review:

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Changes: πŸš™What’s the difference vs 2021 AMG CLA 35?

Mercedes-AMG has left the CLA primarily unchanged for the 2022 model year but has added a few small features that make the car easier to live with. A USB-C accessory cable is now standard, and the Premium Package now features SiriusXM satellite radio. Rose Gold joins the exterior paint range. Finally, a new AMG Night Package Plus comes with black exterior badging and black louvres on the AMG grille.

Pros and Cons

  • Stunning exterior and interior design
  • Lots of standard tech
  • Entertaining driving dynamics
  • Potent acceleration
  • Tight rear legroom
  • It's pricey
  • Small trunk

Best Deals on AMG CLA 35

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
AMG CLA 35 4MATIC
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$47,900

AMG CLA 35 Exterior

The standard CLA is a good-looking car, and the 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 looks even better thanks to some choice AMG styling bits. The 4-door CLA 35 is blessed with a standard panorama roof, 18-inch or optional 19-inch AMG alloy wheels, and an AMG body styling that includes flared side sills, a sculpted front air dam, and dual chrome tailpipes. At the back, you get a sporty diffuser and lip spoiler. Mercedes-AMG offers optional styling packages such as the AMG Night Package, which adds jet-black accents to the exterior, and the AMG Aerodynamics Package, which adds a larger front splitter more pronounced rear spoiler. LED exterior lighting - including headlights, taillights, and daytime running lamps - are included by default. The sport exhaust system features dual tailpipes - one at each side of the body. As far as four-door coupes go, this is one of the prettier examples of the concept.

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Front Angle View Mercedes-Benz
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Angle View Mercedes-Benz
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Side View Mercedes-Benz
See All 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The AMG CLA 35 is a small car compared to most other AMG models and measures 184.8 inches in length. It rides on a 107.4-inch wheelbase, is 55.3 inches tall, and measures 78.7 inches wide when you include the wing mirrors. The front track is 63.4 inches, and the rear track is 63.3 inches.

Despite its relatively compact dimensions, the CLA 35 tips the scale at 3,505 pounds.

  • Length 184.8 in
  • Wheelbase 107.4 in
  • Height 55.3 in
  • Max Width 72.2 in
  • Front Width 63.4 in
  • Rear Width 63.3 in
  • Curb Weight 3,505.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

There are eleven color options available for the 2022 model year, ranging from classy to in-your-face and everything in between. Mercedes-AMG offers new buyers three no-cost paint options: Polar White, Night Black, and the awesome Sun Yellow. Your $750 metallic options include Digital White, Cosmos Black, Iridium Silver, Mountain Grey, the new Rose Gold, and Denim Blue. For those with more exotic and expensive taste, Mercedes-AMG offers Patagonia Red metallic for $1,750 and Mountain Grey Magno for $3,250. We'd take one in any shade of Silver or Gray.

The AMG Night Package adds black accents to the exterior of the car, including the side mirrors, air dam splitter edge, and tailpipes. The grille and exterior badging can also be blacked-out by opting for the AMG Night Package Plus.

  • Mojave Silver Metallic, Build Out: 09/09/2021
  • Digital White Metallic
  • Cosmos Black Metallic
  • Iridium Silver Metallic
  • Mountain Grey Metallic
  • Rose Gold Metallic
  • Denim Blue Metallic
  • MANUFAKTUR Patagonia Red
  • MANUFAKTUR Mountain Grey Magno
  • Polar White
  • Night Black
  • Sun Yellow

AMG CLA 35 Performance

The CLA 35 can be considered a junior AMG or entry-level AMG car, but that doesn't mean it's a weak performer; in fact, it's a seriously rapid little sedan that will leave many larger sports cars snoozing at the lights. The CLA 35 packs a 302-hp punch from its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which it sends to all four wheels via Mercedes-AMG's excellent 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, giving it a significant grip advantage over RWD competitors. However, its main German rivals, the Audi S3 and BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe, both offer AWD as standard. Power delivery in the Merc is instant, and with a broad torque curve on offer, the CLA 35 feels faster than its stats suggest. Mercedes-AMG claims that the CLA 35 will sprint to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, but independent testing has shown that it can smash it out in only 4.4 seconds. Its bigger brother, the CLA 45, has managed a stunning 3.7-second 0-60 mph time by independent testers.

Specs from rivals are a little better; the BMW's 0-60 sprint time is 4.7 seconds, whereas the Audi leads the way with its 4.5-second effort.

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Front View Driving Mercedes-Benz
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine Mercedes-Benz
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine 1 Mercedes-Benz

Engine and Transmission

Mercedes-AMG prides itself on building some of the most efficient and powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines around, and although the engine in the CLA 35 isn't the most highly strung, it still delivers a massive punch. The 2.0T engine produces 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque which it sends to all four wheels via a seven-speed AMG dual-clutch automatic transmission. This powertrain delivers an impressive amount of punch from low in the rev range all the way to around 6,000 rpm and feels responsive, even when driving in a taller gear at lower speeds. Unfortunately, the CLA 35 misses out on the new eight-speed DCT found in the CLA 45 and has to live with the seven-speed box used in the previous-generation car. It can feel clunky at lower speeds where it tends to hunt for gears. When pushing the car, the driver needs to be adept at reading the road so as to get the next gear ready because this transmission won't do it for you. It might be the baby of the AMG family, but it feels like an authentic AMG product.

  • Engine
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

We have praised Mercedes-AMG's efforts on the latest CLA 35 in a previous test drive review and the 2022 model carries over those impressions. The baby AMG has progressed in leaps and bounds in terms of handling performance and dynamic ability compared to its predecessor, which felt numb and unresponsive. The 2022 CLA 35 offers a naturally stiff ride, but this can be compensated for by equipping the optional AMG Ride Control sport suspension, which considerably softens things without compromising performance. We don't recommend driving the CLA 35 in Sport or Sport Plus mode on city streets, as you'll need to see a chiropractor after a few minutes of driving. Those who buy the CLA won't expect Lexus LS levels of comfort.

Throwing this car around corners reveals numb steering feel but sharp responses: it's easy to tell where the front wheels are going, even if you don't feel every bump or twitch of the steering wheel. We also appreciate that you can feel the car's mechanical grip come into play, which allows the driver to play with the CLA35's natural balance, but doesn't expect any oversteering hoonery; this is still an AWD car that has a natural tendency to understeer. If tail wagging is your thing, then we recommend going for the more powerful CLA 45, which features rear-wheel torque vectoring.

AMG CLA 35 Sedan Gas Mileage

The benefit of running a relatively small-capacity turbocharged engine is that when treated with respect and a very light foot, you can still see some good fuel economy figures. According to the EPA, the 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 will manage an entirely respectable 21/29/24 mpg on the city/highway/combined circuit. This isn't quite as impressive as the gas mileage returned by the BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe, though, which does 23/32/26 mpg.

The CLA 35 is fitted with a 13.5-gallon fuel tank, giving it a maximum range of 324 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/29 mpg
* 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 35 4MATIC

AMG CLA 35 Interior

Mercedes-AMG knows how to do a performance-focused interior, and the CLA 35 feels every bit as sporty as it does refined and luxurious. Unlike some of its German rivals that love to stick to contemporary clean-cut lines and a futuristic techy look, the CLA 35 is endowed with a more flamboyant design language, highlighted by those awesome-looking air vents and snazzy ambient lighting. The choice of materials is a mix of exemplary soft-touch materials undone by some elements that feel considerably cheaper. The CLA 35 also comes equipped with an impressive amount of standard tech features and a wide range of options for interior materials and driver-assistance features.

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Central Console Mercedes-Benz
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard Mercedes-Benz
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Infotainment System Mercedes-Benz
See All 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Despite its compact proportions, the CLA 35 will seat five adults, but four will be happier. Buyers should be aware that this isn't a people carrier by any means; the focus lies squarely on the two front occupants, who get a decent 41.8 inches of legroom. Those in the back will have less of a good time due to the tight 33.9 inches of legroom and sloping roofline. The sloping roofline also makes it interesting for taller passengers to enter and exit this car - and not in a good way. The front bucket seats are supportive and offer eight-way power adjustment, including four-way power lumbar support. Mercedes-AMG also provides the option of heating and ventilation for the front seats, and performance front seats that offer even more support but won't keep you as comfortable over long road trips.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.8 in
  • Front Head Room 38.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 33.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 35.7 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The CLA might be performance-focused, but it's still a premium luxury German sedan at heart, and with that comes a plethora of fancy material and trim options. As far as seat upholstery goes, Mercedes-AMG offers new buyers two no-cost options: Neva Grey and Black MB-Tex, or Black MB-Tex and microfiber inserts with red stitching. Going for leather upholstery will set you back $1,450 and includes options such as Bahia Brown, plain Black, Classic Red/Black, or Titanium Grey/Black. Interior accents and trim include Aluminum with linear grain or longitudinal grain or AMG-design aluminum at no cost. Natural Grain Black Linden wood and Natural Grain Brown Walnut wood can be had for $325.

The interior can be further upgraded with an AMG performance steering wheel in Nappa leather, Nappa leather/microfiber, or microfiber on its own. The standard red seat belts can be swapped for less shouty black ones at no charge. Although many of these materials feel and look appropriately premium, some areas of the cabin aren't quite as solid as those from the AMG's BMW and Audi rivals.

AMG CLA 35 Trunk and Cargo Space

When overall passenger space is not a top priority, cargo space is also going to be at the bottom of the list of importance, but to be fair to the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35, its 11.6 cubic feet of cargo space is more than you get in the Audi S3 (8.3 cubes). The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe takes the cake with 15.1 cubic feet. The CLA 35's trunk opening is wide, making it easy to load and unload things, and it's 40/20/40-split folding rear seats open up a decent amount of extra space for larger items.

Smaller items can be stored in the glove box, the center console storage compartment, and generous door pockets. There are two cupholders in the front, and a rear fold-out reveals two more for backseat passengers.

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Cargo Room CarBuzz
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk Space CarBuzz
2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Taillights Mercedes-Benz
  • Trunk Volume
    11.6 ft³

AMG CLA 35 Infotainment and Features

Features

This premium executive sedan comes packaged with a few tasty features that make it feel like a true AMG product. The illuminated entry system and keyless start set the mood, and upon entering the cabin, you're greeted by a 64-color LED ambient lighting system with illuminated vents, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster display. Standard driver assistance features include active brake assist, attention assist, blind-spot assist, crosswind assist, and the obligatory rearview camera.

Mercedes-AMG offers tons of optional extras such as heated front seats, active lane-keeping assist, a head-up display, parking assistance, and AMG sport bucket seats.

Infotainment

The 2022 CLA 35 features Mercedes-Benz's new MBUX infotainment system that uses small touchpads on the steering wheel, voice control, and a console-mounted control pad to glide through menus and make selections. Everything is displayed through a 10.25-inch touchscreen display and 10.25-inch digital cluster display. This infotainment system is refreshingly easy to use and comes standard with features such as Bluetooth streaming, multiple USB-C charging ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and HD Radio. For listening to your favorite tunes, the CLA has an eight-speaker sound system. Infotainment system upgrade options include MB navigation and in-car Wi-Fi

AMG CLA 35 Problems and Reliability

No recalls have affected the 2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA and the same applies to the high-performance AMG CLA 35. The 2021 model, however, suffered from three recalls including a faulty rearview camera image, an inaccurate vehicle location being sent out for emergency services, and a child seat anchoring system that was missing an anchor bar.

Mercedes-AMG will cover the CLA 35 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, as well as corrosion protection, a drivetrain warranty, and roadside assistance for the same time/distance.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

AMG CLA 35 Safety

Unfortunately, there is no 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 review from either the NHTSA or the IIHS. Mercedes has an excellent reputation for safety, though, so we see little reason that the CLA 35 won't uphold this.

Key Safety Features

There might not be any safety rating for the 2022 CLA 35 from USA authorities, but Mercedes-AMG has ensured that this sports sedan is packed with all the latest safety features. Standard for 2022 is an eight-airbag system, including combined thorax/pelvic bags, dual two-stage front airbags, and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. Rear-seat side-impact airbags can be additionally specified for $700.

The CLA 35 also features LED headlights, electronic stability control, rain-sensing window wipers, brake assist, and adaptive braking technology. Standard driver-assistance features include attention assist, blind-spot assist, and crosswind assist. Mercedes-AMG offers a ton of optional safety features such as evasive steering assist, active emergency stop assist, active lane-keeping assist, a surround-view camera system, and adaptive high beam assist. A head-up display and a dashcam round out the options list.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 a good car?

Many hardcore AMG fans still see cars like the CLA 35 as juniors not worthy of the badge, but the 2022 car should be able to change the minds of even the most stringent AMG V8 loyalists. This car has come miles since its last iteration, not only in terms of how it looks but how it handles and entertains through a set of corners. Yes, it still has its faults; it's cramped in the back, its suspension setup can feel stiff to some, and it still likes to understeer, but the overall experience is refreshing and, most importantly, involving. The interior is stuffed with tech and feels modern without giving up its soul. We appreciate the standard features list, its usable trunk, and intuitive infotainment system, and new buyers are given the option to spec this baby AMG extensively. The CLA 35 has drifted somewhere close to the top in a class filled with stiff competition.

🚘What's the Price of the 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35?

The Mercedes-AMG CLA 35's price begins at an MSRP of $47,900 in the US, making it the most affordable model in AMG's range. This price excludes the destination fee of $1,050. The CLA 35's competitors are all closely priced, with the Audi S3 coming in at $45,800 and the BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe at $45,500. Mercedes-AMG offers many options for the CLA 35, and fully loaded, this baby bruiser can easily cost over $70k.

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Models

The 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 sports sedan is a standalone model and is only available in one trim. This means you get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via Mercedes-Benz's 4MATIC AWD system and a seven-speed DSG transmission. The exterior gets standard LED headlights, an AMG styling package, 18-inch AMG alloy wheels, and chrome tailpipes. The interior is flush with tech, including ambient interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster display, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Standard driver assistance features include active brake assist, attention assist, blind-spot assist, and crosswind assist.

See All 2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Mercedes-AMG offers numerous optional packages for the CLA 35, ranging from exterior styling to chassis and interior packages. Our go-to exterior package is the $1,550 AMG Aerodynamics Package which adds a more pronounced front splitter, a larger rear spoiler, and a Gloss Black rear diffuser. For an improved driving experience, we'd recommend going for the AMG Ride Control Sport Suspension at $990, and for added safety, add the Driver Assistance Package (requires the $1,300 Multimedia Package), which, for $1,700, adds driver assistance features such as active steering assist and active brake assist with cross-traffic assist. The Parking Assistance Package goes on sale for $1,090 and does what it says on the box.

For the interior, we'd go with the $1,100 AMG head-up display and the $1,300 Multimedia Package. The latter adds navigation with augmented video, free navigation map updates for one year, and speed limit assist.

πŸš—What Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Model Should I Buy?

The CLA 35 is a standalone trim, so we would suggest looking at AMG's extensive list of optional extras to craft your own unique experience. If we were buying, we'd get one in Iridium Silver metallic and add the AMG Aerodynamics Package (which includes the AMG Night Package) and a set of 19-inch AMG twin five-spoke wheels. On the inside, we'd add the Driver Assistance Package, which automatically adds the Multimedia Package. Finally, we'd go for the $990 AMG Ride Control system, bringing the total cost to $56,590 including destination.

Check out other Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class Styles

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Comparisons

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 CarBuzz
Audi S3 Sedan Audi
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mercedes-AMG CLA 35302 hp21/29 mpg$47,900
Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 382 hp20/29 mpg$55,350
Audi S3 Sedan 306 hp23/32 mpg$45,800

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 vs Mercedes-AMG CLA 45

These CLA cars might share the same name, but adding the number 45 instead of 35 makes one hell of a difference. The CLA 45 looks more aggressive thanks to bolder styling features and a unique front grille, but the most significant changes occur under the skin. The CLA 45 is also powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder but now produces 382 hp and 354 lb-ft. Combine that with an advanced eight-speed DCT with launch control, and you get a car that can do the 0-60 mph sprint in just four seconds dead. The CLA 45 also features a rear torque vectoring differential with a tail-happy drift mode. This is the AMG CLA to get if you're looking for a wild time, but you'll need to cough up $55,900 for the privilege.

See Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Review

2022 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 vs Audi S3 Sedan

The Audi S3 and Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 are close competitors in every aspect. Starting at $45,800, the Audi S3 is around $2,000 less expensive than the AMG but offers similar performance and comfort. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the S3 delivers 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro AWD system and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The S3 can sprint to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and hit a limited top speed of 155 mph. Not only is it quicker, but it also uses less fuel: it offers a combined figure of 27 mpg and has a larger fuel tank at 14.5 gallons. The S3 has more rear-seat legroom but a smaller trunk and comes with ample standard tech. If you're after a more performance-focused experience, the Audi is the way to go.

See Audi S3 Sedan Review

Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Popular Comparisons

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